Shut Up & Sing

2006 Documentary

Between 1998 and 2002, it seemed the Dixie Chicks could do no wrong. Their first major-label album, Wide Open Spaces, was a smash hit, topping the country charts and eventually selling 12 million copies, while their subsequent albums Fly and Home respectively moved ten and six million units. Their concert tours were consistent sellouts, making them the most commercially successful female group in the history of the recording industry. However, things took an unexpected turn for the Dixie Chicks in March 2003; with the United States expected to invade Iraq in a matter of days, the group's Texas-born singer Natalie Maines said during a concert in England, "Just so you know, we're ashamed that the president of the United States is from Texas." While the spontaneous quip earned cheers during the show, the Dixie Chicks soon found themselves at the center of a firestorm of controversy at home -- radio stations pulled their music from playlists, conservative political commentators organized boycotts and protests against the groups, and during shows the Chicks became the targets of death threats. As Maines and her bandmates Emily Robison and Martie Maguire weathered the storm, they had things of their own to deal with, including marriages, childbirth, and making a new album with producer Rick Rubin. Award-winning documentary filmmaker Barbara Kopple and Cecilia Peck teamed up to follow the Dixie Chicks as they recorded their 2006 album Taking the Long Way, fought back against the accusations lobbed against them, and struggled to hold on to their personal lives in the midst of intense media scrutiny. Dixie Chicks: Shut Up & Sing (titled for a comment shouted at them by a fan) was the result; the film became the first documentary to enjoy its world premiere as a Gala Presentation at the 2006 Toronto Film Festival. more..

Director: Barbara Kopple


  • Documentary filmmakers pray for something to happen to their subjects when the cameras are rolling, and two-time Academy Award-winning documentarian Kopple struck gold when Maines told a crowd on the opening night of the band's first European tour that she was "ashamed" that President Bush was from Texas.

    - The San Francisco Chronicle

    27 April 2013

  • The documentary shows what a tight-knit group the Chicks are.

    Roger Ebert - The Chicago Sun-Times

    27 April 2013

  • For three years, the camera focuses on the Chicks as wives, mothers, entertainers and political flash points. Their fight to stay uncompromised is inspiring.

    Peter Travers - Rolling Stone

    27 April 2013

  • Barbara Kopple and Cecilia Peck's film is a fascinating look at the intersection of commerce, celebrity, and controversy.

    Wesley Morris - The Boston Globe

    27 April 2013

  • A seriously entertaining highlight of the fall season.

    Michael Phillips - The Chicago Tribune

    27 April 2013


  • Audience Favorite Documentary

    Aspen Filmfest (2006)

  • Best Documentary

    Boston Society of Film Critics Awards (2006)

  • Best Documentary Feature

    Broadcast Film Critics Association Awards (2007)

  • Best Documentary

    Chicago Film Critics Association Awards (2006)

  • DocuFest Competition

    Chicago International Film Festival (2006)